© 2018 by Jack Newbury

Are Superbugs fighting back?

01/30/2018

What do we do in a world where antibiotics can no longer combat diseases? Bacteria can fight back, evolve into Superbugs becoming resistant to antibiotics. This crisis is developing on a global scale, so how do we overcome this challenge? 

 

The exhibition 'Superbugs: The Fight for Our Lives' at the Science Museum explores this issue. Through new innovations and medical advancements in biomedicine and biotechnology, we can create new replacement antibiotics to fight these infections.

 

Current usage of these practices already exist in many hospitals and labs to treat bacteria such as Staphylococcus Epidermidis, which grows on plastic surfaces to potentially infect medical devices such as catheters. Hospitals now use copper and other metals on surfaces such as stethoscopes, armrests and pens to reduce the spreading of bacteria through daily touch. Moreover, some UK hospitals use UV light to break down the DNA of bacteria and killing up to 70% more bacteria than using standard disinfectant cleaning products. 

 

One particular research trial that caught my attention was the University of Melbourne's SNAPP's (structurally nanoengineered antimicrobial peptide polymers). These star-shaped proteins are synthetic molecules inspired by natural proteins produced by our own immune system, which attach to the bacteria, pierce the outer and inner walls of the bacteria and destroy the bacterium's structure. This poses questions as to whether we should be turning to synthetic-designed materials to fight bacteria as an alternative to traditional medicine?

 

 

'Antibiotics have enabled us to combat diseases that were once untreatable. But bacteria have fought back, evolving into superbugs resistant to even the most powerful antibiotics.' - The Science Museum 

Curated by the Science Museum

Supported by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) & University of East Anglia (UEA)

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